Let’s bring forward a comment by Geof from the post two below, to give PT readers a chance to vent on the issue of the day – Trump and his consequences – in a post of its own:
I don’t think I’m saying anything new here, but it needs to be said again. In my view, the bigger problem isn’t the next four years: it’s what happens after that. Those of us who despise the man need to keep our eyes on the prize.
Trump didn’t win: the Democrats lost, convincingly, and not just at the presidential level. Though Trump certainly didn’t deserve to win, the Democrats did deserve to lose. The people voted for change in 2008. They didn’t get it, so they voted for change again in 2016. Throughout 2016, my response to friends who dismissed Trump was consistent: “I think he has a good chance.”
The rise of a xenophobic populist in response was entirely predictable. If not Trump, someone else would have appeared soon enough. I see him as like a wild animal: danger to be avoided, not some prodigy with the force of will to change history. He’s a buffoon. The real fault lies elsewhere. Yes, with ignorance and hatred, rampant in a country that has shredded its social institutions. More importantly with the people in charge when this was allowed to happen.
The Democrats need to develop a genuine popular alternative. They resoundingly rejected any such thing during the campaign. Since then, they have only doubled down on their mistakes. Embedded in a toxic neoliberal ideological brew of rationality and meritocracy from which they have benefited handsomely, their self-satisfied sermon to those who have been left behind boils down to “be more like us.” They believe the fault lies with anyone but themselves. Losing, they see the problem as too much democracy, not to little. They are unable to hide their desire to put Brecht into practice by dismissing the people and electing a new one.
Of course the Democrats and Republicans have long conspired to exclude any third parties, so the Democrats, with all their faults, are all there is. If they can’t offer change in four years, if they can’t learn to listen, if they can’t develop some humility, then I believe that we well see another Trump inauguration. At this rate, we may even see a constitutional convention of the states. The next four years will not be pretty. I’m far more concerned with what follows.
My own observation: I still do not know what people, Americans in particular, mean by “change”. I don’t think it is about the constitutional structure of the country; the American Constitution is a sacred document to them, and, like ours, almost impossible to change in any event.
If it’s only about a particular class of politicians, I don’t buy it. The strategy of the Right has been to discredit government generally, but only so they get to run it to the dictates of their ideology and for the advantage of their supporters. As the Republicans will find out, even their most avid supporters don’t want change that would erode the programs they depend on or are privileged by. If anything, they want a restoration of those advantages they believe they have lost. That’s not really ‘change’ as used by most commentators.
If it’s about ideology, I haven’t heard a coherent alternative that would address the issue underlying the last campaign, and will only become more critical as the next wave of automation impacts more of us: wealth and social inequity.
What, then, addresses this desire for ‘change’ that remains so undefined? What, in short, does it mean?